The 616 Diaries: Entry 22 by Kevin Kauffmann
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October 19th, 2019

Okay, this is infuriating.

I thought that maybe with all of these signs of dire import that this would be some sort of whirlwind adventure where I deciphered the secrets of ancient demonic prophecies.  Last night I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited to see what I was about to learn, what kind of terrible tragedies I might help the world avoid.  Baum had talked it up a lot yesterday, and I had believed him.

But whoever wrote these fucking prophecies must have done it as a joke, because every single word is nonsense.

Yeah, Baum had warned me, obviously—it’s right there in my last entry—but I thought that it would at least resemble English.  There were a few symbols that looked vaguely like something I had seen before, but Fennsler would look over my shoulder and tell me I was wrong and that I should stop looking at it.  It would come with time, he said.

Fat fucking chance.

Hell, the only thing I saw in the raw text that felt familiar were certain names I had seen before in my research on the Ars Goetia, though of course I couldn’t tell without the translations.  Just a few names here or there; when it seemed like the demonic prophecies were focusing on some conversation between them.  I knew that according to Baum and their order that these were supposed to be really important conversations about events that had already happened or were about to happen or whatever the hell they really are, but the way the words had been scribbled down, it reminded me entirely too much of inconsequential bullshit water cooler talk.

Sorry, I’m kinda bitter right now.

Amin had laughed at me after I exploded the third time, and I snapped him a quick glare at that, but he told me—and Baum’s and Fennsler’s silence made it seem like they agreed—that I had no business diving into the raw text this early on.  No matter how providential my dreams had become or how often I had seen 616, I was just asking to be frustrated.  Amin said that he himself hadn’t even considered going right into the raw text and had started with the translations instead, but he had a different reason for that.

See, my good friend Ravenseer didn’t believe that we could manipulate our apparent mysticism so easily, and he had a number of systems in place that he could use to decipher whatever future was supposedly written between the pages and the lines.  Since he had been programming since he was 2—or so he claimed—he was pumping every translation into some software he had written and then would compare it to the original text, to see what tricks were lying in the language.

It makes sense.  Computers can do a million times the work we can, so good for Amin.  He’s cheating the system.

While he was explaining it all it seemed like Fennsler and Baum were willing to let him do it, but I could tell that they didn’t really approve.  I guess that even with the suits and the ties and the corporate backing that they were very much rooted in tradition.  It was easy to see that they wanted to see what their previous members of the Order had seen; a seer truly connected to their demonic prophecies.

But it seems like they are very patient, because they are letting Amin do his thing and they were alright with me being frustrated.  However, Baum did tell me that he agreed with Amin; that I should start with the sections that had already been translated and see what the general content of the book was before I went off and started my reign as the new seer.

So that’s what I did.

AND IT’S STILL FUCKING NONSENSE.

Baum, he warned me that it sounds like parables at first, that the meaning is hidden in the phrases, but the first segment they gave me was about a man buried in a tree.

Yeah, buried in a tree.

I asked him point-blank if this was serious—that this actually happened and it was all prophecy—because I honestly thought it was a joke at first.  Like he, Fennsler and Amin were laughing at my expense, but my normally very-reasonable handler shook his head and explained that it was merely a commentary on the start on the timeline, how it was really just a reference to Odin and his time on Yggdrasil, the World Tree.

At this point I knew they were being crazy.  They were talking about how these were demonic prophecies, but then they bring Norse mythology into it?  I expressed my doubt—which is to say I slammed my hands on the table and huffed before explaining how disappointed I was—but Baum expected that kind of reaction.  He circled around my desk and then hit the button on the side of my screen that allowed me to see the annotations.

I’ll admit, the annotations definitely made it make more sense, but I have to wonder how much of that is legitimate deciphering and translation and how much of it was made up on the spot.  Apparently, Yggdrasil and poor Odin impaled on its trunk was all an allegory for the nature of the universe, and it’s supposed to mark how far and distant the canopy is from the roots and how we are only allowed a limited perspective, even as seers.  The roots run deep, and the branches extend far beyond what we are able to see.

I thought it was bullshit, too.

But then whoever was in charge of translating the passage went on and on about certain details around the twelfth century, even in the middle of talking about Odin’s struggle.  For those reading this diary who don’t have a background in mythology—though I don’t expect an audience to ever exist—the whole thing is supposed to be how Odin, the Allfather in Norse mythology, was able to gain all his knowledge for runes and whatnot.  Spent nine nights impaled on his own spear just to do it.

You know, like a masochistic peyote trip or something.

But ignoring the obvious ties to Jesus and all that jazz, interspersed between the lines (which rhymed sometimes!) were these details about the twelfth century.  Honestly, it was kinda cool, though I don’t know how the original translator was able to get that from the gobbledygook in the text.  It was fun to see how some historical details were peppered all over there.

Now I’m not stupid enough to believe that this was legitimate, even if Baum and Fennsler claim the “prophecies” are dated prior to the twelfth century, but Baum said something that really threw me for a loop.  It wasn’t that these details were in the translations or the annotations, but he pointed out the “timestamp” of the translations, which is to say when the Order recorded them.

If they’re right, the translation was made around 616 AD.

Absurd, but this was what I was supposed to be getting into.  That I can’t read the raw text right now is supposed to be understandable, but at this point I really do have to doubt how much of this is true.  These claims are pretty much unsubstantiated—I only have Fennsler’s and Baum’s word that their Order has been keeping track of everything—but what if they’re lying to me?  What if someone is lying to them?  Honestly, the only reason I didn’t walk out the door—other than the fear that an organization like this might not like loose ends—is that I believe in 616, and I guess…

Well, I guess I just want it to be true.  I want this to be my grand quest and my moment, and to give up now—at the beginning—would be kinda shitty of me.  So I’m pushing past my doubts, I’m reading more stories, and I’m kinda sorta tempted to bring some of the files back with me to my hotel room.

Which is a no-no, apparently.  I asked Fennsler about the possibility and for the first time I’ve ever seen, the smile fell away.  His gaze was hard and he looked at Baum beside me, and I didn’t even have to look at Baum; I could feel the air between us go cold.  Even though they didn’t say anything, I could feel the gravity of the situation; almost as if they were hoping I would just go back to my seat.

Which I did, because, well, that was pretty creepy of them.

I looked at Amin and tried to get him on my side, but he had witnessed the interaction and decided to keep his head down and buried in his own work.  I had thought that since we had known each other before—had discovered the secret behind 616 together—that we would be better friends and he might stick up for me, but I guess that went out the window as soon as he had started on his own. 

Apparently he had a much bigger head-start than I had thought, but that was just because he didn’t go home last night.  I thought that meant he had stayed in one of the rooms in the dormitory, but from the red around his eyes, I think he was just up all night.

Found out quickly that that was the case when we went to the cafeteria for lunch.  The food was a lot better than I expected, but I really wasn’t paying attention to the flavor or variety.  I was more interested in what Amin had to say, especially since he had delved into at least eleven of the different parables within the prophecies.  His program was one of those things that would work in the background, so he said it freed him up to actually read the translations and annotations.  I asked him if they made more sense the more you read them.

He just fucking laughed and laughed.

“Oh, dude, no, they never start making sense,” he told me, the noodles on his fork slipping away from him as his wrist went slack.  He seemed like he was about to curse, but then he just shook his head and looked me in the eye.  Well, not really, he was looking in the direction of my eye, but the poor guy was looking right past me to… something else.

“Then do you think they’re right when they say it’ll just take some time?” I asked him, and that seemed to bring Amin back to reality.  Immediately he scoffed, tried to say something, thought better of it, and then looked me in the eye.

“I’m not sure I can.  I’ve been looking at all these stories and allegories and all that stuff makes sense, but the actual words in the book?” he said, breathing in deeply before looking off to the side.  “I don’t know, man.  I’ve used these programs on some dead languages before and had a working model of it all within a few days.  Hieroglyphics and stuff like that.”

“Really?  Damn, then this should—”

“It should,” Amin interrupted me, and the atmosphere got heavier in just that instant.  He looked at me and the black of his pupils seemed to pull at me with their own gravity.  “The alphabet looks like any of the classics, the syntax seems easy, but I’m not really making headway on it.”

“Well, they said it would take time,” I tried, but neither of us was convinced.

“Maybe.  I’m working on a theory why it might take more than that, but it might just be a matter of time.  I’m just… not exactly confident anymore.  When this whole thing started, I got all excited—thought I was finding some secret in the universe—but this might just be way over my head,” Amin admitted, crossing his arms and scrunching up his face with a sniff.

You?  You think you’re in over your head?  Then what hope do I have, huh?” I asked, trying to lighten the mood, but Amin wasn’t having it.  He just kept looking at the corner of the floor, working over some puzzle in his head.

“I think you got more than me, Ray.  I think you got that legit seer thing going on,” he said, almost deflating with his last breath.  “I don’t think this is something a program can figure out.”

“What are you talking about?  If a program can’t figure out, why do—”

“Because we’re talking about demons, Ray,” Amin said, snapping back to look at me.  “If we’re supposed to be seers for these guys, then we kinda have to admit that magic and the afterlife and all kinds of stuff exists.  Stuff I would have laughed at a few months ago.  I don’t know about you, but I never really believed in God.”

“Yeah, well,” I said, trying to think up an argument and failing.  I sank into my seat and shoved my hands in my pockets, trying to work through it all in my head.  Finally, I sighed and massaged my temple with my left hand as I replied.  “Nah, me neither.”

“But if this thing is real, Ray, it would just be dumb to try to deny it.  And if there is such a thing as a seer, he might be the only one who can translate these things the right way.  It could be that, well, the cypher for this code is some sort of magical connection that only he possesses,” Amin explained.

“We,” I said abruptly, and I saw him give me a confused look.  “You mean that we possess, right?”

“Oh.  Yeah, we,” he muttered, breaking eye contact once again.  “I guess I’m just feeling down about it.  Thinking that I’m not part of this.”

“Nah, man, it wouldn’t have shown up for you if you weren’t,” I argued, but I think it was just because I didn’t want to be alone.  Already I could tell that something was different about Amin, that he might not be experiencing the same thing.  But still, we had found it together, right?  Seer or not, Amin was part of Team Zodiac.

Though I’m not sure he was too invested in all that.

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Amin said before he started fishing around in his pockets.  I was about to ask what he was doing, but he pulled out a flash drive shaped like a teardrop and placed it in front of me.

“What’s this?” I asked, hesitating as I picked up the small piece of plastic.

“That, my friend, is a Raindrop.  Flash drive I made that that has a secure connection to my cloud server.  As long as you can get internet access, you can download and view anything I put on there.  Figured it would be good to pool resources on this thing,” he explained, and I turned it over in my hand like it was some precious thing, which, well, I guess it was.  However, it seemed like a bit much.

“Do you already have a bunch of stuff up there?  Am I looking for anything?” I asked, but he put out his hands and shook his head quickly.

“Nah, nothing like that yet.  This is more for when we get deeper into this thing and we’re working through it in our heads outside of work.  I can tell that it’s going to weigh on us, at the least.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Yeah, dude.  There’s a reason I didn’t sleep last night,” Amin said, and I could tell that he wanted to talk more about it but knew I wouldn’t understand.  “Most of the stuff I read was, like, creation myths, but it felt like each one was like, I dunno, a burden?  Like, as soon I read it, I felt like I was carrying it around with me in my soul.”

“That’s… unnerving,” I commented, which drew a scoff from Amin.

“Wait til you start feeling it,” he muttered before leaning back in his chair.  He looked down at his tray of food, but I could tell just from his gaze that he wasn’t going to eat it.  “The weird part is that I’m cool with it.  I want to keep going, always.  I feel… compelled.”

“Sounds dangerous.”

“Yeah, but we signed up for dangerous,” he said before pushing back his chair and standing up.  Amin then grabbed his tray and walked over to the nearby trashcan.  As he tilted the tray and threw away most of his lunch, he looked over his shoulder to keep talking.  “I’m gonna get back to it, dude.  I’m not even hungry, anyway.  I’ll see you in there.”

“Yeah, I guess.  You let me finish up and we can head back together?” I suggested, but the guy just shook his head.

“Eh, what’s the point?  I’ll see you there,” he said, and he dropped off his tray above the trashcan before putting his hands in his pockets and walking to the doorway.  His shoulders were slouched, he was looking down at his feet, and to me it seem like he was already defeated. 

I thought that maybe it was just because things were so easy for him usually and that this was a little more difficult, but I’m not sure anymore.  When he said that the cypher might be magic I thought it was crazy, but after turning the idea over in my head, it kinda makes sense.  If this Order is real, if all this stuff is real and 616 was just the beginning, then maybe our ability to decipher these words, even the translations, really is tied to our souls or whatever.

I don’t know at this point.  After lunch, I tried to read a new passage, but I kept getting drawn back to that first translation about Odin.  I would look at the raw passage at the same time, almost thinking that I could tell where the phrases lined up, but I assume it was just wishful thinking.  After my talk with Amin, I think I just wanted to have some sort of mystical leap in logic, some connection that was individual and unique to me, and I think it might have actually had something to do with the parable itself. 

Odin is supposed to be the wise one in the Norse pantheon, and the reason he stabbed himself on Yggdrasil was so that he would learn even more, most importantly the runes.  Since that’s basically their alphabet—with magical power, of course—it made it seem even more appropriate.  Odin suffered, obviously, but he had unlocked the mysteries of the universe because of it.

I have the distinct feeling that the author meant to start the prophecies like this.  Maybe the first step is realizing that I won’t understand until I’ve suffered.  Hopefully… well, I don’t even know what to hope for anymore.  If I need to hurt just to read this thing, I might… I might want to hurt.  If I can only gain this knowledge through suffering, I may need to damage myself in ways I can’t imagine.

I guess I just have to hope that I’ll live through it, however morbid that is.  I’m not really sure what I’m willing to give up at this point, or if it even matters at all.  It’s all theory, based on assumptions that have no evidence.  It’s like playing hopscotch and every leap is based on faith, but I’m not even sure what I believe in.

So, I guess the question is, how far am I willing to go just on a hunch?  How much pain am I willing to undergo just to see if I’m right?  And would it be self-inflicted, or would I just let the world hurt me?  For now, I can’t even begin to answer those questions.

Looks like Amin’s not the only one who’s going to have trouble sleeping.

 

 

END OF ENTRY

 

 

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Ray's diving in, but it seems he might not know how to swim. Next entry's supposed to go up tomorrow, but I'll be nice and let you read it now